August 18, 2016

Zechariah 10-14 - 
Store-bought gods babble gibberish.  Religious experts spout rubbish.  They pontificate hot air.  Their prescriptions are nothing more than smoke, and so the people wander like lost sheep...

God will step in and take care of his flock, the people of Judah.  He’ll revive their spirits, make them proud to be on God’s side...For my people---oh, I’ll make them strong, God strong!  and they’ll live my way, God says so!                

God commanded me, Shepherd the sheep that are soon to be slaughtered; The people who buy them will butcher them for quick and easy money...So I took over from the crass, money grabbing owners and shepherded the sheep marked for slaughter.  I got myself two shepherd staffs, I named one Lovely and the other Harmony...Then I took the staff named Lovely and broke it across my knee, breaking the beautiful covenant I had made with all the peoples....Then I broke the other staff across my knee, breaking the concord between Judah and Israel.  

God then said, Dress up like a stupid shepherd.  I’m going to install just such a shepherd in this land - a shepherd indifferent to victims, who ignores the lost, abandons the injured and disdains decent citizens.  He’ll only be in it for what he can get out of it, using and abusing any and all...Doom to you, useless shepherd, walking off & leaving your sheep.
God’s message concerning Israel...Watch for this, I am about to turn Jerusalem into a cup of strong drink what will have the people who have set siege on Judah and Jerusalem staggering in a drunken stoop. 

On that Big Day, I’ll turn Jerusalem into a huge stone blocking the way for everyone...I, God, will begin restoring the common households of Judah so that the glory of David’s family and the leaders of Jerusalem won’t overshadow the ordinary people in Judah.  

On the Big Day, I’ll look after everyone who lives in Jerusalem so that the lowliest, weakest person will be as glorious as David, and the family of David itself will be Godlike, like the Angel of God leading the people.  On that Big Day, I’ll make a clean sweep of all the godless nations that fought against Jerusalem. 

Next, I’ll deal with the family of David and those who live in Jerusalem.  I’ll pour a spirit of grace and prayer over them.  Then they will be able to recognize me as the One, they so grievously wounded---and they’ll weep...On the Big Day, a fountain will be opened for the family of David and all the leaders of Jerusalem for washing away their sins, for scrubbing their stained and soiled lives clean...What a Day that will be!  No more cold nights--in fact, no more nights!  The Day is coming--the timing is God’s--when it will be continuous day.  Every evening will be a fresh morning...All the survivors from
the godless nations that fought against Jerusalem will travel to Jerusalem every year to worship the King, God, and celebrate the Feast of Booths.

Philippians 2 - 
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care-- then do me a favor:  Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.  

Don’t push your way to the front, don’t sweet talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead... Forget yourselves long enough to lend an helping hand.  

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.  He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what... When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave...It was an incredibly humbling process...he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a self- less, obedient death....

Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God.  That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure... Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God....

I have no one quite like Timothy.  He is loyal and genuinely concerned for you.  Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus.  But you know yourselves that Timothy is the real thing....